Ideas with Consequences: The Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution

ISBN : 9780190933746

Amanda Hollis-Brusky
264 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Oct 2019
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There are few intellectual movements in modern American political history more successful than the Federalist Society. Created in 1982 to counterbalance what its founders considered a liberal legal establishment, the organization gradually evolved into the conservative legal establishment, and membership is all but required for any conservative lawyer who hopes to enter politics or the judiciary. It claims 40,000 members, including five Supreme Court Justices, dozens of federal judges, and every Republican attorney general since its inception. But its power goes even deeper. In Ideas with Consequences, Amanda Hollis-Brusky provides the first comprehensive account of how the Federalist Society exerts influence. Updated in paperback to account for recent developments, this book is the essential guide to the post-Kavanaugh Federalist Society, which continues to broaden its reach at all levels.


1. Understanding Federalist Society Network Influence
Part I: The State Exists to Preserve Freedom
2. The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms: Lost and Found
3. Judicial Activism, Inc.: The First Amendment, Campaign Finance, and Citizens United
Part II: The Separation of Governmental Powers Is Central to Our Constitution
4. Federalism and the Commerce Power: Returning to First Principles
5. State Sovereignty and the Tenth Amendment: The Anti-Commandeering Doctrine
Part III: It Is Emphatically the Province and Duty of the Judiciary Branch to Say What the Law Is, Not What It Should Be
6. Saying What the Law Is: The Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution
Appendix A - An Agenda for Future Research: Looking Back, Looking Forward
Appendix B - List of Interviews

About the author: 

Amanda Hollis-Brusky is Associate Professor of Politics at Pomona College, where she teaches courses in constitutional law, legal institutions, and American politics. An award-winning teacher and sought-after lecturer and commentator on Supreme Court politics, she has written on the conservative legal movement, Originalism, executive power and the Christian Right. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Law and Society Review, Law and Social Inquiry, and Law and Policy.

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